I spoke with a friend today and we talked about "self-improvement" and what it means and whether it is at times a way for each of us to beat ourselves up as to needing to be or do "more."
I consider that in terms of the following words, and I must admit that in this moment I like the idea of knowing God gives me a big push. I am happy for the push and maybe even push back a little. Hey, God, I'm here, enjoying our tug of peace.
Saint Teresa of Avila described how she knew when it was God that was speaking to her. She said, "You will know when God has spoken to you because of three things. One, you are certain of what the words are. You may not get their meaning, but the words are clear. Second thing," Teresa said, "If they are words from God, they will give you a feeling of peace, whether you understand them, or not. Third, 'The words stay with you a long time. Maybe forever.
When I give workshops, I often go around the room and ask people to give a reason they have for not praying. This is actually pretty easy for folks. They usually respond by saying, "I don't have enough time." Or "I don't know how to pray". Or "I am not sure God answers prayers." But I will never forget the woman who said, "I am afraid of what God will ask me to do." And I thought, "You know, that is a darn good reason to not pray. Because it implies that you know the power of prayer."
You want me to do what? is not really a question. It's a statement. It is staying: "You want me to change. I don't want to change." If we follow God's leadings, we will be changed. And the change is often not gentle... Often God pushes.
Bill Kreidler, Keynote Address, Friends General Conference, 1994